Analysts tout soul searching as defections rock opposition camp

SIX national leaders of opposition parties who joined the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) during the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Dar es Salaam, yesterday, pose for a souvenir photo with CCM’s Publicity and Ideology Secretary, Mr Humphrey Polepole (centre). From left: CHADEMA’s Youth Wing Chairman, Mr Patrobas Katambi, former Home Affairs Minister Lawrence Masha, who returns to the party after he had crossed over to CHADEMA and ACT-Wazalendo leaders including; Secretary for national youth programme, Ms Edna Sunga; Advisor, Advocate Albert Msando; Secretary-General, Mr Samson Mwigamba and Chief Advisor Prof Kitila Mkumbo. (Photo by State House)

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THE ongoing wave of defections by opposition politicians to the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) is likely to weaken the camp in its core duty as the government watchdog, independent analysts have said.

Giving their views yesterday after an unprecedented defection of six senior leaders from opposition parties to CCM, the analysts said the exodus of the opposition leaders might also reduce confidence that a section of the public had in the camp.

Prof Chris Maina Peter, a distinguished professor of Law at the School of Law of the University of Dar es Salaam, made his comment, saying though their decision did not contravene the country’s constitution, it would, to a certain extent, bring about consequences to the country’s politics in general.

Article 20 of the Country’s constitution states that ‘Every person is entitled to freedom, subject to the laws of the land, to freely and peacefully assemble, associate and cooperate with other persons, express views publicly, and more specially to form or join associations or organisations formed for the purposes of preserving or furthering his beliefs or interests.’

“Those who defected to the ruling party are personalities in whom a section of the public had placed confidence.

This means that apart from just weakening the opposition, their decision might prompt the public to look at the whole camp with a different perspective,” Prof Peter said. T

he six senior opposition leaders who quit their parties to join CCM at the ruling party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting were Mr Patrobas Katambi, CHADEMA’s Youth Wing Chairman; Prof Kitila Mkumbo (ACT-Wazalendo Chief Adviser) and former Home Affairs Minister Lawrence Masha who returns to CCM after crossing to CHADEMA two years ago.

Others in the list were former ACT-Wazalendo leaders including Secretary-General Samson Mwigamba, its advisor Albert Msando and Edna Sunga, the Secretary for National Youth programme.

Speaking about the implication of defection of Chadema National Youth Wing Chairman Katambi on young people, who until recent years appeared to incline to opposition politics. Prof Peter said the move would not influence them as most of them would focus on problems facing their lives.

“I believe Mr Katambi’s defection would just temporarily disrupt the thinking of youth, but it would not discourage them from clinging to what they believe in.

Youth are concerned with employment, loans to enable them pursue education and other problems,” he stressed

. Prof Peter, who was last year voted member of the United Nations’ International Law Commission (ILC) by the UN General Assembly, was of the view that majority of youth were concerned with their problems, not issues that have nothing to do with their life.

Dr Bashiru Ally, a lecturer in Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) said opposition party leaders ought to blame themselves for the situation they were going through. He said since inception of multiparty democracy in 1992 opposition parties have never conducted competitive and strategic politics aimed at winning presidential elections.

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